KU set up a camp for signature drive against Sindh University

KARACHI:27 MARCH:As protest against the controversial universities bill continue, the faculties of the University of Karachi on Monday launched two separate drives to get petitions signed to restore the autonomy of the province’s universities.

The Karachi University Teachers’ Society (KUTS) set up a camp for the signature drive against the Sindh Universities and Institutions Law (Amendment) Bill 2018 at UBL Chowk in KU, while the Joint Action Committee, which was formed last week to resist the controversial law, initiated a similar campaign on the issue at the Arts Lobby.

A large number of teachers, students and employees of the varsity visited the two set-ups on Monday and added their signatures to the petitions which were displayed on large banners, leaving blank space for people to sign.

Speaking about the campaign, KUTS Secretary General Dr Moiz Khan told The News that Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had assured the representatives of Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) that all controversial clauses of the said bill would be reviewed. But, it seemed that the provincial government was not serious about taking the amendments back. “KUTS will hold a protest in each coming week until the government restores the autonomy of varsities,” he said.

Dr Riaz Ahmed, a member of the Joint Action Committee, said that students and staff members of KU had signed the petition to repeal the varsities bill. He added that after all signs were collected, they will present it to the Sindh governor.

Moreover, KUTS also organised another campaign on campus at Azadi Chowk against a private television channel which aired news accusing a professor of sexual harassment.

The banner’s headline stated: “University of Karachi is a leading institution of higher education in Pakistan. It has inspired hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis and international students. Whatever I am today is because of my Alma Mater and I am proud of it.”

Scores of students and teachers were seen signing the petition along with writing the hashtags #MyKU #MyPride. Khan said that the teachers and students of KU have great respect for the institution and they participated in the signature campaign to show gratitude towards it. “I was a student of Karachi University and now I am teaching here, so how could I even think about defame my alma mater by harassing my students,” he said, speaking on behalf of teachers.

The bill which was passed by the Sindh Assembly earlier this month has drawn the ire of teachers’ bodies from across the country, particularly those in Sindh.

The controversial law has taken away several powers from the university chancellor – the serving governor of the province – and handed them over to the chief minister. These powers include overarching control over the administrative affairs of the public universities and degree-awarding institutes of Sindh such as ordering inquiries, approvals, inspections, appointments, dismissals, nominations and granting leaves.

The chancellor’s office has been reduced to a ceremonial one with his function now only limited to presiding over the convocation ceremonies. FAPUASA has rejected the law accusing the government of having mala fide intentions behind it.

“It is utter nonsense,” the secretary general of FAPUASA, Shakeelur Rehman Farooqui, said to The News in an earlier interview. “This is not at all acceptable to us and we will resist this move,” he had added.The news.